Dear Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

I find myself on the precipice of despair and fury on a daily basis. I don’t know how you walk into your job with your head held high every day, watching as our democracy slowly crumbles around us, fighting like hell to grip it together.

I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing. I look at history and the people who took the path of peace and love often got steamrolled. The angry mob often won out. They stormed the Bastille. They tossed the tea.

The angry mob is able to do heinous and unspeakable things: genocides, throwing elections, overthrowing governments, assassinations, secessions – you name it. They get things done. It’s sick what an angry group of people is capable of.

And our response is to shout that “love trumps hate,” even when that doesn’t appear to be true. I in no way suggest we Democrats need to get violent or anything, but we should be angry. We should be motivated. We should be in collective agreement about our plans for the future. Because the angry mob has already formed underneath our president, and we are the silent majority.

I don’t agree with everything you do, or the ways you do it. But I respect your willingness to never back down, and to call those in power to the table. I want to see you mad as hell, and I want you to motivate all the rest of us to get mad as hell too. Because only when we are angry are we going to be driven to positive action. Only when we’re mad will we continue to fight for what is right.

My baby is almost 8 months old and I fear for his future. I fear that our country is being designed by puppetmasters and string-pullers, run by corporations, and losing its middle class entirely. I deeply fear that our president is mentally ill and will do something catastrophic. But even once that nightmare concludes–hopefully safely–we have been gerrymandered and bought and sold so many times over that our representation in government looks like a shell of its people.

I’m sad to have a government in place today that is not representative of most of the country. I’m sad the evil out there feels justified that it is winning. I’m terrified for my son, and the things he will encounter as a result of this mess. Will he encounter record-breaking hurricanes every year for the rest of his life? Will he be able to pay for college? Will he ever be able to buy a house? Have a family with another man, if that’s what’s in his heart? Become a Muslim, if he’s so inclined? Read classic books that speak to controversial topics? Speak his mind? Trust the press and the news he sees? Live without concern that his every move is being tracked? Not be concerned about foreign governments manipulating him?

I say all this as the mom of a white boy; I can only imagine what goes through the minds of the moms of black boys, immigrant girls, transgender children. Our social progress is under attack, our ecosystem is hanging in a precarious balance, and Equifax is selling our financial data to the highest bidder. And what do we stand for?

We can’t just stand as the opposition, the resistance. We have to stand for more.

I want to see our Democratic manifesto, the thing we rally behind. I want to see more from this country than infighting and blame. I want to get angry as hell, but angry for the right reasons – because our choices have been stolen from all of us and put in the hands of the .1%.

Rather than telling you what I don’t like, this is what I believe needs to happen. Is it what the party will rally behind? Only time will tell.

  • Free and accessible healthcare for all, as it is a human right.
  • Restrictions on financial institutions, real estate, and data companies. (I say this as someone who works with data. Frankly, no company should be allowed to store data on someone indefinitely. They should be actively using the data, or they should dump it. It makes us too vulnerable to risk otherwise.)
  • LGBTQ rights.
  • Black lives matter. As a result, police should be held to a higher standard than they are – we need training programs for police officers for de-escalation, race relations programs, and swift action taken when police abuse their power.
  • The legalization of marijuana. There is NO reason it should be illegal, other than to provide an excuse to throw people of color in jail.
  • Higher taxes on the wealthy, lower taxes on the middle class. We know trickle-down economics does not work. It actually doesn’t even make sense, frankly. If I handed you $10k, you wouldn’t decide to hire a PT maid. You’d bank it or spend it in various places. The same applies to the wealthy. Tax breaks don’t mean they create jobs. Tax breaks to the middle and lower classes result in more jobs, because collectively, those breaks are spent into the economy, producing a demand for jobs to fulfill that spending.
  • Easy, accessible abortions. Because women have the right to choose.
  • More welcoming regulations around legal immigration and trade. Our economy is dependent on the economies around the world. The most successful countries have a give-and-take relationship with each other.
  • Job training for those displaced by outsourced and automated jobs. A robot took your job–not an illegal Mexican. But you’re still unemployed, so let’s train you how to do something else to feed your family.
  • Gun control. Nobody should be able to kill 58 people, and injure more than 500, in 15 minutes.
  • Heavier federal funding for public education. College students should be motivated to become teachers. We need to pay them like they matter, and support the schools like they house minds who will make decisions for the future.
  • Less funding for the military. We have an amazing military and it’s not necessary to keep throwing money at it with outrageous abandon. Fund it appropriately but cut the fat.
  • More funding for research on social programs that work – how we can improve Welfare, Social Security, etc. and make the dollars we spend there more efficient at helping people onto their feet.
  • Consideration for government regulations and programs for low-income housing – how to make it easier for people to stay in their homes in the wake of gentrification, how to make it easier for people to purchase their first home, etc.
  • Equal pay for equal work.
  • Free and accessible access to women’s preventative healthcare and family planning resources, as having a plan means healthier children and families, which removes long-term financial burdens on the system. (Not to mention, it’s the right thing to do.)
  • Access and research for mental health treatment programs and addiction programs.
  • Acknowledgement that climate change is real, and a place at the table as one of the countries who will lead the charge to slow its effects.

I’m sure there are more bullets I could add here but these are the ones off the top of my head. I honestly can’t imagine what most people would have an issue with on most of these. How can we rally together to make these a reality, and gather to fight FOR something rather than constantly fighting AGAINST something?

Elizabeth, I’m sure you’ll never read this, but I have to get it off my chest. Wherever you are today, please give me strength, and I’ll send a little to you. I want to help you make this country closer to the way it was when you were growing up, economically… but with the progressive ideals young people are inherently gathering around today.

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